Sunday, September 29, 2013

Schools of Linglestown

In 1720 the first school in town was built in combination with the the first church at Wenrich's, now St. Thomas UCC. It was a one story log building located a half a mile east of Linglestown. The building had a church and school in one half and a home for the minister and teacher in the other half. It was called Wenrich's Parochial School.

Wenrich's Parochial School

Wenrich's Parochial School was used until 1790 when the students were then moved to the The Town of St. Thomas Log School. The Log School was twenty feet wide and twenty feet long and stood on the eastern part of town. On the north side of the building were two windows and the desks for the male students. The door, teacher's desk and window were on the east side of the classroom. On the south end was one window, and log seats and desks for the female students.  The west end had two windows, a long bench against the wall, and bench and desk for the big boys. A ten plate stove was in the center of the room and a small space up front for a blackboard. The windows were chin high so that the pupils couldn't look out. The students attended the log school until 1843.

The log school was built before the days of the free schools as we know them. The teacher was paid a penny a day for each pupil by the parents. If the parents could not pay then it was paid by the poor house. School attendance was not compulsory in those days.

In 1843 the students moved to a new school on the northern hill above Linglestown. Because of its location it was named the Hill School. The building was forty feet long and thirty feet wide. At one time it had one hundred students. Mr. Charles Mytinger was the teacher and was paid twenty dollars a month for four months of teaching each year. This school was also used for church purposes. 

The Hill School became so crowded in 1851 a duplicate school building was constructed east of the town on the Joseph Meese farm. The school had two names: The Locust Hill School or Meese School. The students who lived in the east end of town went to the Locust Hill School and those who lived in the west part of town went to the Hill School. 

An incident happened at the Locust Hill School.  When a teacher demanded that a girl student, who was much heavier and larger than he was, do a certain lesson, she refused. He was going to force her to do it so she took her small slate board and hit him over the head with it. The slate broke and the frame of the slate hung around the teacher's neck. The girl left school and ran home, never to return.

In 1879, when the Locust Hill School closed, the Mt. Zion School opened.  The school was located on the Meese farm, directly south of the Locust Hill School. It was thirty feet long and twenty feet wide. The school had all new furniture, desks for two with drop lids and folding seats, plaster blackboards all around the room, and two clothes closets. The school cost $727.00 to build and furnish.

Mt Zion School

After the Hill School was closed in 1859, the students were transferred to a new brick school which had been recently built. One of the teachers there,  Mr. Joseph Eichelhart, was especially liked by the children and their parents. When he came to Linglestown to teach, he brought wooden handled jumping ropes for the girls and was the first to introduce the game of football to Linglestown.

In 1876, construction began on the Linglestown High School building. It was built at the west end of Linglestown. There were three sections taught at this school: primary, intermediate and secondary education. The secondary school was established in 1910, composed of a two year course. The first graduating class in 1912 had six members. The brick building was used until 1931 when it became the location of the Linglestown Fire Company.

Lillie Pitman was the teacher at Linglestown High School
in 1921.  The pump was just outside the door and it was a
student's chore to bring in a pale of water each day for
watering the plants and washing the slate chalk boards.

One of the earlier graduating classes of the Linglestown High
School.  Seated: Bertha Rabrich, Ella Good, Sarah Schreiner,
standing: Irene Hershey, Boyd Good, Eva Daniel, Professor
William Weills and Dorothy Frese.

Teacher's Contract

Many times, when a teacher offered his services, he would draw up a contract to be agreed upon by the parents of the children he was to teach. Here is an example of a contract used by a teacher:

"George W. DuMars proposed to teach a regular English School three months at Light's School, consisting of the following branches: spelling, reading, writing and arithmetic if necessary. We, the subscribers, promise to pay the said, G.W. DuMars, for the above services, two dollars per scholar, annexed to our name, with fire wood and school house, for said term. None subscribers will be required to pay three cents per day. School will commence on the first Monday of December, next." Subscription dated, October 12, 1832. About thirty persons signed this pledge.

In 1922 the Lower Paxton Township Public School was opened. For many years all the students in the Township went to this school. In later years, the elementary and senior high school students went to newly constructed schools.

Merit System

Teaching and the running of the classroom was different in many ways than the way it is done today.  The merit system was used in the Mt. Zion School. Reciting was very important then and the "move to the head of the class system" was used. The more correct answers a student had in a row, the closer he/she came to the front of the class. If he/she made a mistake,  he went to the rear to begin again. The person who was at the head of the class at the end of each week would receive a merit card recognizing this fact.


The Boys wore homemade boots and the girls wore homemade cow hide shoes, greased with hot tallow. The girls also had hand warmers, heavy long underwear and long, woolen stockings in the winter.

Books and Equipment

There was different equipment used in the schools.  Raubs Reader, Mitchell's Geography, Buckwalter's Speller and different arithmetic and grammar books were used. Many large wall maps, charts on tripods and globes were used.


Many games were played at recess, most of which have now been forgotten. Paddleball, sock about, rabbit, old sow, kick the wicket, carley over, whip cracker, hind-most-three, see-saw, fox in the morning, rolling whoops, shooting marbles, building snowman, and snowball battles are an example.


Many different types of punishments were used in the schools. Some examples of these are spanking, staying in at recess and standing on a round stick in a corner, with one hand held high.

Schools of Higher Education

There were two institutions of higher education in early Lower Paxton Township. The first was called the Log College and was located a mile south of Paxtonia. The second one was located in Linglestown at the eastern end.  It was called St. Thomas Institute, a three-story building. The institute was opened in 1856 by Professor John Focht, for a term of six weeks. Students were charged three dollars for each term. The school operated for a number of years, graduating many future professional people. The students came from many surrounding counties. The building is now a home and can be seen at 6073 Linglestown Rd.

Information for this post is from the Lower Paxton Twp. Bi-Centennial book.

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